Bacterial infection not only stimulates innate immune responses but also activates coagulation cascades. Overactivation of the coagulation system in bacterial sepsis leads to disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), a life-threatening condition. However, the mechanisms by which bacterial infection activates the coagulation cascade are not fully understood. Here we show that type 1 interferons (IFNs), a widely expressed family of cytokines that orchestrate innate antiviral and antibacterial immunity, mediate bacterial infection-induced DIC by amplifying the release of high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) into the bloodstream. Inhibition of the expression of type 1 IFNs and disruption of their receptor IFN-α/βR or downstream effector (eg, HMGB1) uniformly decreased gram-negative bacteria-induced DIC. Mechanistically, extracellular HMGB1 markedly increased the procoagulant activity of tissue factor by promoting the externalization of phosphatidylserine to the outer cell surface, where phosphatidylserine assembles a complex of cofactor-proteases of the coagulation cascades. These findings not only provide novel insights into the link between innate immune responses and coagulation, but they also open a new avenue for developing novel therapeutic strategies to prevent DIC in sepsis.
© 2020 by The American Society of Hematology.